A history of our Town Flag

The original idea for a town flag came from our good friends at the Lytham St. Anne’s Civic Society, Marion Coupe and Judith Talbot. They had spotted a little-publicised initiative from Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government to encourage cities, towns and parishes to create their own flags and use them as a way of showing their pride in their community and where they live. The flags are meant to be the “people’s flag” or “citizen’s flag” for each area, so that anyone can use them for whatever purpose they like, whether to advertise their business or simply to fly in your own garden as a bit of fun. In other words, they are most definitely NOT a flag owned by a local government council and protected by copyright so that only they can use it.

It may surprise you to learn that only a dozen or so cities and towns in the UK actually had a registered flag until recently. You must not confuse flag designs with crests or other emblems that councils use to show their authority. To be a registered flag, it must be listed on the flags register of the UK Flag Institute. This is the not for profit charity approved by Parliament to hold the Nation’s list of flags, including all royal and military flags. [see www.flaginstitute.org]

Once Marion and Judith had approached our council, we were all enthusiastic about this and were extremely lucky in that they also put us in touch with one of the leading flag designers  in the country, Philip Tibbetts, who is a member of the Flag Institute and assistant to the Chief Vexillologist [quick Latin lesson! a vexillum was an ancient Roman military standard carried by the legions to identify them, particularly in battle, and the modern style of flag derives from these, hence vexillology is the study of flags].

Under the guidance of Philip, we agreed upon a basic design which had two key features as being representative of St. Anne’s on the Sea. At the lower portion of the flag, these are shown as the blue of the sea and the yellow of the sand, both represented by waves and emphasising our famous sandy beach and sea views. Upon the upper portion, we thought it a fitting tribute to show a representation of the St. Anne’s lifeboat “Laura Janet” lost with all hands in 1886 in the biggest disaster in the RNLI’s history. The boat’s placement towards the hoist of the design recalls the areas’ original name of “West End” when the area was the western part of the ancient Parish of Lytham, before it became a parish in its’ own right in the late 19 Century.

Our flag was officially registered with the Flag Institute on the 17th November 2012 and can be viewed within the Cities and Towns section of the flag registry within the website. The first time it was hoisted was on the councils’ flagpole on Clifton Drive, as the opening event of the 2013 Carnival Weekend. Everyone is now free to use the flag design in whatever way they like, and we want to encourage this as much as possible.

To promote awareness of the Town Flag, a competition was held in December 2013 for students of Lytham St Anne's Technology & Performing Arts College to design a Christmas card which incorporated the Town Flag's design.

The competition was won by Emma Jeffrey and Georgia Randles and their designs were turned into Christmas cards and professionally printed in a limited print run.

Flag pin (badges) have also been produced and details about the story of the flag and two flag pins were sent to Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. An official letter of thanks was received from the Queen's Private Secretary.